Attempted murder charge after ‘gang attacked men’

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Two men suffered a fractured skull and fractured spine during an alleged bid to kill them in Portadown, the High Court has heard.

They were attacked when up to five assailants wielding weapons emerged from a car after it was driven into one of them last summer, prosecutors claimed.

Details emerged as a 51-year-old man charged with two counts of attempted murder mounted a fresh application for bail.

Francis McNally, of Carnreagh, Craigavon, is further accused of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, and possessing an offensive weapon – namely a crowbar.

The charges relate to a suspected group attack at Garvaghy Road in the Co Armagh town on August 13.

Crown lawyer James Johnston said one alleged victim was found lying in the road, while the other was discovered at a nearby address.

Both had head injuries and named McNally as being involved, the court heard.

Mr Johnston also disclosed that an eyewitness claimed a Vaxuhall car was driven into one of the men before five men got out and launched the assault.

“Both injured parties were taken to Craigavon Area Hospital. It appears one suffered a fractured skull and the other a fractured spine,” counsel added.

The car was later discovered burned out on the Drumnagood Road in Portadown.

Forensic tests are to be carried out on a cigarette butt located close to the vehicle.

McNally was arrested later the same day and declined to provide an account during interviews, according to the prosecution.

No possible motive for the alleged attack was disclosed during the hearing.

Defence lawyers argued that McNally should be released from custody due to delay in progressing the case.

They contended a district judge has already expressed concerns about the time being taken.

However, Mr Justice Burgess decided to adjourn the application until a further update is provided later this month.

He also told the defence: “At the minute I’m satisfied there’s a prima facie case against your client.”